"This is an especially vicious killing," said Mount Vernon police Commissioner David Chong. "It's very vicious and cold-hearted that they would be firing shots at an individual with a baby in his arms."
The attackers fired four to six bullets, one of which hit and killed the father, 18-year-old Hassan Green-Cane. The baby, also named Hassan, was unhurt.
"We were extremely lucky that this baby was not harmed," the commissioner said Monday. "The fact that this young man was hit means it was just inches from the baby."
The father, who apparently had taken the crying baby outside to calm him, staggered back in and handed the baby to a relative, then collapsed, Chong said. He was pronounced dead later Sunday at a hospital.
Chong said Green-Cane was known by police officers and probably was targeted, but he wouldn't elaborate. He said the unknown number of attackers were "probably looking for him or waiting for him" when he emerged from his house at 7:10 a.m.
Chong said detectives had several leads.
"I'm quite confident we will make an arrest," he said.
The homicide was the eighth this year in Mount Vernon, which is just north of New York City. There were seven all of last year.
"It's extremely frustrating and disheartening that this behavior is continuing despite our efforts," Chong said.
Green-Cane was the youngest of eight children, and family members told The Journal News he had just re-enrolled in high school
"He was our nephew, grandson, brother, cousin," said an aunt, Ellen Session. "And he got shot. And he's gone. His son will never get to know him."